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Why Freshmen Fail and How to Avoid It Review by Debbie Lott

Carol Reynolds, PhD
Silver Age Music, Inc.
(800) 884-7897
6024 Toledo St.
Plano, TX 75094

I think all parents are a bit nervous when sending their children off to college for the first time. Will the student keep up with his or her studies and use his time wisely? Will he make friends and find a “good” crowd to hang out with? As a homeschool parent, I think I’m a bit more concerned about the prospect of my daughter heading away to school. She is a good student, but she hasn’t had much classroom experience. Her life thus far has been a bit more sheltered than average. Will she stay organized? Will she feel comfortable dealing with multiple professors? Before she begins this new phase of life, I want her to be well prepared.

Why Freshmen Fail and How to Avoid It ($21.95)is a 126-page paperback book written to prepare students to succeed in college. The author, Carol Reynolds, PhD, writes from the perspective of both a student who did not initially succeed in her first attempt at college immediately out of high school and as a professor who taught hundreds of freshman students and analyzed the reasons why some did well and others did not.

There are many aspects of this topic. Reynolds doesn’t cover social issues such as getting along with roommates and living in the dorms. Instead, she focuses on finding success in the classroom. First, she addresses eight reasons “why freshmen fail.” Some of these reasons begin long before the student reaches the college campus, such as neglecting to develop a clear vision for why they are going to college and being unprepared to be dropped in a crowd of strangers without parents, friends and teachers to make them feel special. Other reasons for failure include not realizing the importance of staying organized and attending classes regularly.

Part two addresses techniques for success in college academics, such as taking advantage of a professor’s office hours, knowing what questions to ask or not to ask in class, and how to be (and appear to be) engaged in class.

Why Freshmen Fail and How to Avoid It is a very helpful little book. I was a little confused about who the audience was, however. Much of it seems to address parents, but some sections are written directly to the student. As I was reading, I debated whether to discuss the issues with my daughter or to just give the book to her to read. I did finally decide that she will read it herself. I think it would have been most effective if it had been written specifically to the student throughout the book. Despite this one issue, the book provides invaluable information, ranging from common sense to great tips that perhaps only a professor would think of for success in college.

-Product review by Debbie Lott, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017